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2014: February

This month we give our opinions on how to make the politicians listen, wonder about Scottish independence and praise our contesting diversity

Making the politicians listen

When it comes to trying to pin down a politician of any political colour for help, it usually results in them telling you everything you want to hear in support your aims and objectives, but nothing that they will actually do to assist you in meeting them.

It is an expert form of invisible succour that invariably amounts to a great deal of rhetoric and very little else. 

How Brass Bands England can therefore translate a highly encouraging start to their renewed efforts to persuade MPs into substantive activism on behalf of the brass band movement through the setting up of a new Parliamentary Group, is the key to its prospects of future success. 

Previous attempts at political representation at Westminster have been inept, leaving the brass band movement nothing more than a patronised laughing stock. 

Thankfully, BBE is now led by a man who understands how the body politic works and is ably assisted by another who is expert in the lingua franca of the government apparatchiks who hold the purse strings for all important funding streams. 

Mike Kilroy and Roy Terry have one heck of a task on their hands to repair years of embarrassing amateurism. We should all offer them our wholehearted and proactive support.  

Perhaps then, the politicians may just be forced to do more than politely nod their heads and offer meaningless platitudes.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


Open Scottish borders

Some people it seems are wondering just what might happen to the future make up of UK banding if Scotland decides to opt for political independence.

Will Alex Salmond stop Scottish bands competing at the ‘Nationals’ in London or Cheltenham, or will he just let them get on with it - sending representatives down each year, as they have always done to try and claim some silverware?

You suspect that whatever decision is made by the Scots come voting day, brass band independence hasn’t been foremost in their minds when scouring any political party’s manifesto priorities.

The Nationals have always been inclusive (and the clever Scots already run their own ‘National’ Championship  anyway - which just happens to also send bands to compete at the Albert Hall and Cheltenham) - so whatever the outcome on September 18th, you suspect a break-up of the brass band ‘union’ is not going to happen anytime soon.

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 


In praise of contesting diversity

There are many things that need radical overhaul in the brass band contest environment - but the element that remains core to its survival and appeal is its amazing variety.

Test piece, own choice, entertainment, march & hymn tune, set work/own choice, open adjudication or closed, points or placings, promotion and relegation - the variations on the genre are as simple, complex or numerous as an event promoter wishes them to be.

As a result there is a format to suit any band almost anywhere and at any time in the banding world - from holiday camps to symphony halls.    

We may well bemoan a lack of prize money, registration anomalies,  increased entry fees and even judges decisions each time we compete, but there cannot be a single person who can say the banding movement isn’t spoilt for musical choice as to how best we choose to perform competitively.

Long may it continue. 

What do you think?
Send an email to: comments@4barsrest.com 



Lofthouse Brass Band - Mayor's Annual Charity Concert

Monday 23 April • Ossett Town Hall, Market Place, Ossett WF5 8BE WF5 8BE


Regent Hall Concerts - Clarendon Brass Ensemble

Friday 27 April • Charlton House. Charlton Road. London. SE7 8RE SE7 8RE


Egremont Junior Band - Egremont Town Band and Workington Town Band

Friday 27 April • Workington CA14 3AW


Wotton and District Silver Band - Tom Hutchinson

Saturday 28 April • St Mary's Church, Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire GL12 7LS


Black Dyke Band - Lincoln Cathedral

Saturday 28 April • Minster Yard, Lincoln LN2 1PX


Silver Spectrum Wind Band

April 24 • Brass Players wanted for established Sheffield based wind band. MD George Morton.. Rehearsals Mondays 7:30 to 9:30 pm. We enter the NCBF festival where we have gained many gold awards and on one occasion a platinum.. Wind players also welcome to apply.


The Corsham Band

April 24 • With a solid result in our first year in the Second Section at the Regional Contest, the band are now looking for an experienced Front Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team.


Hathern Band

April 23 • Hathern Band are looking for a PRINCIPAL EUPHONIUM to join their Championship Section Band. This position has become vacant because the present player wishes to retire. We are looking for a committed player to fill this key seat. www.hathernband.co.uk.


Sandy Smith


Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger